Good Friday

25 03 2005

When I got in my car Wednesday night to drive home from Tyler, I tried to plug Over the Rhine’s “Good Dog Bad Dog” into my CD player. The machinery would whir a bit then spit the CD back out. Between attempts I’d hear snatches of beautiful classical music, but I mostly ignored it. I was on a mission. The player and I engaged in a brief battle of wills until I gave up and decided to listen to the radio.

As soon as I turned my attention to the station, I recognized the music. It was Handel’s Messiah. The tenor was in the middle of his aria at the end of Part Two. “But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell, nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.” The chorus followed. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in! Who is this King of Glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.”

A friend called this morning. “I have tragic news . . .”

A clear, sweet soprano continued: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

“What happened?”

Chorus: “Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.”

Our pastor and his wife lost their son last night. He was skiing in the back country near Colorado Springs when an avalanche overtook him. Another man managed to ski down and return with a search crew, but they were too late.

A deep bass voice asked, “Why do the nations so furiously rage together? Why do the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed.”

The chorus answered, “Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.”

The tenor responded. “He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

And then. I cranked up the volume. Glorious music and powerful words surrounded me.

“Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Hallelujah! The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings! (Hallelujah, hallelujah!) And Lord of Lords! (Forever and ever!)”

As the music built in intensity, my heart soared with it into heavenly places. He shall reign forever and ever. In all our brokenness, He is reigning.

Our pastor and his wife, Wayne and Lorie, have only one son. Their first born, followed by one daughter. He was in his mid-twenties. Married. No kids yet.

I’d never heard a more pleasant soprano. Sopranos can be shrill, but this one was ethereal. “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.”

Chorus. “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

My friend went on. “I wanted to tell you, because I knew you would pray. But there’s something else . . .”

Alto. “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory.” The tenor joined her. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law.”

Chorus. “But thanks be to God. Who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“When I spoke with Lorie, she said she didn’t know how they were going to survive this. But the first thing that came to mind was something you said at Bible study about how you got through the first days after Jacob’s accident . . .”

Soprano. “If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is at the right hand of God, Who makes intercession for us.”

“She remembered you said you took it one breath at a time, and she knows God will get them through this somehow.”

Chorus. “Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.”

I’d been driving for an hour. I turned down Bomar as the final chorus swelled in affirmation of all that had been sung. Words and music met in a mysterious unity that echoed in my heart. I know that my redeemer lives. Death is swallowed up in victory. Worthy is the Lamb. I turned on University, one block from home, as the last strains faded. “Amen.”

~*~*~*~*~

My heart is grieving today. And yet I have hope. Good Friday. Darkness covered the earth for three hours. The Prince of Peace declared, “It is finished.” And on the third day, He rose. Please pray for the Uppendahl family. They are crushed. But I know they will make it. One breath at a time.


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8 responses

25 03 2005
Anonymous

…He is risen indeed

…Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Words of eternal life… I’ve read lots of words here, but these today are separate. Let’s take off our shoes when we meditate like this. It is finished, death swallowed, Worthy is the Lamb.
–Bob Moffat

25 03 2005
Anonymous

…He is risen indeed

…Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Words of eternal life… I’ve read lots of words here, but these today are separate. Let’s take off our shoes when we meditate like this. It is finished, death swallowed, Worthy is the Lamb.
–Bob Moffat

27 03 2005
jadeddissonance

It is believed among many musicologists that Handel’s Messiah was inspired by God. I can’t help but agree.

27 03 2005
jadeddissonance

It is believed among many musicologists that Handel’s Messiah was inspired by God. I can’t help but agree.

29 03 2005
jeannedamoff

Re: …He is risen indeed

Amen.

29 03 2005
jeannedamoff

Re: …He is risen indeed

Amen.

29 03 2005
jeannedamoff

I’m inclined to agree as well.

I hope you had a joyful Easter. Now for the home stretch to the end of the semester . . .

29 03 2005
jeannedamoff

I’m inclined to agree as well.

I hope you had a joyful Easter. Now for the home stretch to the end of the semester . . .

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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